In his prematch press conference ahead of Sunday’s marquee meeting with Manchester United, Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp suggested fans might have some hope of a Joël Matip return, pending his involvement in training.
“Joel is close. Does it now make sense to throw him into a game with one or two sessions, which he didn’t do yet, but today and tomorrow he might be involved?
“To bring him [in], I don’t know. We have to see, we have to decide, we have to look at him and how he will train, how he looks in training and these kind of things, but we have still different solutions.”
As the central defender has not trained yet, he faces a race to fitness to be considered for Sunday’s match; as such, be ready for training images “I Spy” over the coming days.
Jordan Henderson, whose substitution was said to be planned, is also in question.
“Hendo is very important in midfield for us as well, so we just have to see. It’s not decided yet, why should I?”
While the skipper has looked less than 100% in the last few outings, it’s nonetheless unwelcome news that he may be unable to feature against our rivals.
As for Naby Keïta, he is certain to be out, as his seemingly recurring small injury keeps him out of the squad still.
“Naby is not ready for involvement. It’s not a big thing; it’s a little bit like with other players in the past when they came back from injuries and then because of the amount of games and situation in the squad they had to play.
“Then a little injury happened again. Now we just had to put on the brake and say, ‘Let’s settle it properly.’ In the moment we have alternatives in midfield, so we really try to give him all the time he needs to get 100 per cent fit. That’s the situation, so no, he is not in contention for Sunday.”
Given that the boss has the tendency to put his trust in Keïta when he is fit, his unavailability will be frustrating for fans, and seems to be another casualty of this season’s scheduling challenges (including, perhaps, lack of training).
Given the absence of Virgil Van Dijk and unstable form of Trent Alexander-Arnold, a difference-maker in the midfield would be a godsend; Thiago’s return to health thus looks all the more important.